Analysis of Pau Gasol's Game

Pau Gasol was chosen as the most valuable player in the championship for the XXXVI edition of the Men's European Basketball Championship.
Analysis of Pau Gasol's Game

Last update: 18 March, 2019

Pau Gasol is considered to be the best player in the history of Spanish basketball. Undoubtedly, he’s an excellent athlete who is able to impress more than a few people on and off the court. This is thanks to his hard training and mastery of techniques when playing.

Since debuting his first game in Spain as a player for the FC Barcelona and being only 16 years old, the potential and quality that Pau Gasol treasures in his hands were obvious. Not in vain, it took him a short time to make the jump to the NBA, obtaining the number 3 Draft in 2001.

In the 2002 and 2003 seasons, Pau didn’t miss a single game. In fact, he was the only Grizzly that was present in each and every one of the games. Although those weren’t the best years of the franchise, everything got better from the start of the following season.

Since then, he’s been an All-Star six times, a franchise player in Memphis until 2008, two-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, and last but not least, a key player for the Chicago Bulls.

Made in Barcelona

Pau Gasol has been an All-Star six times.
Photo, courtesy of El País.

Currently, he’s under the orders of Greg Popovich in San Antonio; as probably his last service to NBA basketball. It should be noted that, after so many years of playing, it’s not surprising that there was an evolution in his game. Unlike others, he has been exceptional.

Why do we qualify it as “exceptional”? Because after a while, due to age and height, players tend to experience a physical ‘slump’ that affects their game. However, in the case of Gasol, it hasn’t been like that.

Quality exterior shot

As the seasons go by, Pau has been improving his numbers as a shooter to become a respectable figure from beyond the perimeter. This is what Aito Garcia Reneses says:

“Without being an extraordianary shooter, what he has is the intelligence to know when to shoot.”

Adding this to his ability to measure spaces, which has always been one of his main qualities, his improvement in medium-range and even long-distance shots have made him a complete player. Already in Chicago, Pau had a lot of weight in these two aspects, accomplishing percentages of 46.2 percent and 34.8 percent during the two seasons he spent there.

His role as play organizer

This new ability to create danger from anywhere on the court is complemented by the intelligence that Pau already treasured. Thanks to that, he’s able to generate good shooting opportunities for his teammates. It’s shown by the 3.2 assists per game that he has averaged throughout his career.

His skillfulness to generate plays seems congenial since his brother Marc can also boast of this quality. He’s been able to equal and even surpass Pau at times.

Sacrifice in defense

The commitment to defend the hoop is unnegotiable in the teams that Popovich trains. He seems to instill it to his players in a natural way and without arguments: if you play in the Spurs, defend.

This defensive philosophy is a good match for the Spanish pivot, which has offered exponential growth, regarding defense since his arrival in the league. 

During his first season in Chicago, his improvement reached its peak. He gave his best version as a rebounder, with 11.8 sacks per game and 2 blocks per match.

Pau Gasol: a tireless winner

The achievements that Pau Gasol has obtained throughout his career are innumerable, both nationally and internationally. They are: second NBA Spaniard, first to play an All-Star Game (’06), first to qualify for the playoffs (Memphis ’04), and winning the NBA championship (Lakers ’09 and ’10)…

He also holds the Memphis franchise records for: total points scored, games played, minutes played, court shots scored and attempted, free throws scored and attempted, defensive rebounds, offensive rebounds, total rebounds, blocks and losses, twice third NBA quintet (2009 and 2010), and twice the second best quintet (2011 and 2015).

He holds manny of the Memphis franchise records.
Photo, courtesy of RTVE.

Additionally, he’s also one of the only four players in NBA history with at least 20,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 3,500 assists, and 1,800 blocks during the regular season; along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnet.

Despite all his achievements, Pau doesn’t seem to have lost the desire to win and continues to improve his game with each passing day.

We’ll never see him play again at the level he had with Lakers, nor score 40 points to France in a Eurobasket semifinal. However, there’s still a long way to go until the day when we must stand up and say goodbye to the great Pau Gasol. Let’s enjoy it until that day arrives.

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